Sunday, October 16, 2016

"Rivalry" Loss: The defense

Here's what the defense did...hold UT to their season averages.  Those are big numbers...but by holding them to their average on the year, they gave us a chance to win.

UT is #3 in the FBS in yards per play at 7.5.  Against BG, they got 7.4.  Their 42 points were right on the season average.

Just for whatever it is worth, the last two times we played an explosive offense like this, we made history in a bad way.

So, no, the defense is not great.  But they are improving and they do get stops and they are holding their own.  Coach Jinks and Coach Eliano seem to be working hard on this...they are making adjustments, going to fewer down lineman, more zones, trying to help protect our youth and experience.  Beyond the "what took you so long" question, this is a good development.  If they continue to improve...well, I don't think we have another explosive offense on our schedule.

One funny note.  When listening to Coach Jinks in the presser...he has an ability to switch here as he switches from football technobabble to Texas Cowboy...he said something like "When Eastern was in 20 PER and three guys to the surface side...we were a little light in the britches."  Hilarious.

One key addition was getting Will Watson back.  With him, BG was able to take the pressure off our younger players in the secondary.  It will continue to help.  (He also handled BG's kick returns, providing an experienced hand at that, too.)

The other was Tyrik Jones.  I was literally scouring the internet...WHO THE HECK IS TYRIK JONES?  FYI (or FMI), he is a recruited walk-on for Florida that we got late.  (In fact, we have significant contributors who came to BG after signing day.)  Anyway, he was a skilled player in Florida, and he's another walk-on getting time on BG's defense.  He had 9 tackles, 2.5 TFL and 2 sacks.

So, back to UT's "average" game.  They ran for 5.1 yards per carry.  BG did a good job with Kareem Hunt, holding him to 4 yards per carry and a 14-yard long.  Terry Swanson had 112 yards on 12 carries, most of which came on a big 63-yard run that was almost one-third of UT's rushing output.  Doesn't minimize can't allow those kinds of plays.

Woodside is good.  He completed 76%, 14 yards per completion.  He had 4 TDs and one pick.  He's just a very efficient QB and if he had been healthy I think they would have beaten NIU and made the MAC final.  BG didn't have any particular success defending him, but they did it well enough for the game to be tied with 3 minutes left.

UT was 6 of 14 on 3rd down, which is good but actually less than their average.  And BG sacked Woodside 3 times...two by Jones and one by Lunsford.

Anyway, you can't talk about the defense without saying that when UT needed a TD, they gashed us for 61 yards on four plays and put the game away.  In that situation, at that time of the game, we were no match for them.

The thing with the defense was that it was hard to tell if they were much better against EMU and OU, who are not highly effective offensive teams.  BG's defense is not ready to stop an offense like UT but they didn't lose all the battles, either, and if they continue to improve and stay healthy, we could see things get better in the second half.

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